Commission on Growth and Development

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The Growth Commission’s reports identify the ingredients that, if used in the right country-specific recipe, can deliver growth and help lift populations out of poverty. The Commission, consisting of 19 experienced leaders and 2 Nobel prize-winning economists, has released several commission reports, thematic volumes, and background working papers. The spring 2010 volume is the final book from the Commission. The Commission is succeeded by The Growth Dialogue.

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    Policy and Institutional Dynamics of Sustained Development in Botswana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Maipose, Gervase S.
    Botswana represents one of the few development success stories in Sub-Saharan Africa. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaged almost 9 percent between 1960 and 2005, far above the Sub-Saharan Africa average. Real GDP per capita grew even faster, averaging more than 10 percent a year -- the most rapid economic growth of any country in the world. The crucial question is: Why has Botswana grown the way it has done, and what lessons does it offer? This evidence-based story is an account of policy and institutional dynamics of sustained growth and development in Botswana -- illuminating the role of leadership. It shows how a secure political elite has pursued growth-promoting policies and developed, modified, and maintained viable inherited traditional and modern institutions of political, economic, and legal restraint. These institutions have remained robust in the face of initial large aid inflows and spectacular mineral rents, producing a growth pattern that has been both rapid and cautious. The nature of the Botswana developmental state is illustrated by the way in which the state mobilized development resources-especially savings, investment, and human resources, widely known as the primary drivers of economic growth, and prudently managed the economy without becoming excessively involved in the nuts. It demonstrates that through intentional policy choices and countercyclical instruments, countries can shift from aid-dependent to trade-led natural resource development (though probably with narrow-based growth), to a broader development strategy as long as the state is capable and operates within effective institutional design. Botswana's story is sterling example of how the critical issue in development is not so much access to resources but how resources are managed.
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    Policy Change and Economic Growth: A Case Study of South Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Faulkner, David ; Loewald, Christopher
    South Africa's growth experience provides an example of how contrasting growth trends long-term decline followed by improved growth pivot around political change, in this case a transition to democracy. In the decade prior to 1994, South Africa experienced the worst period of economic growth since the end of the Second World War, with growth variable and declining. The proximate causes of slowing growth were trade and financial sanctions in opposition to the Apartheid government, political instability and macroeconomic policy decisions that resulted in higher inflation, increased uncertainty, and declining investment. Democracy has proved critical for, among other factors, creating the possibility of a peaceful and more stable future and reversing investor sentiment at a basic level. Political and economic leadership have been essential for improving the country's growth performance because of the effect on policy formulation, institutional development, regulatory design, and economic vision. Prudent fiscal policy and sound macroeconomic management have been critical factors in creating an environment conducive to growth by stabilizing economic conditions, lowering the user cost of capital, and putting downward pressure on the real exchange rate. This case study provides some insight into a more general perspective on political and economic transition and some of the key macro- and microeconomic policy shifts that need to occur to realize a more rapid and sustained growth path.